The 'Respect for Marriage Act' Is a Direct Assault on Religious Liberty That Will Probably Succeed

(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
(As always, the opinions expressed in my posts are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The House and Senate have passed the Orwellian named Respect for Marriage Act. When Joe Biden affixes his shaky and unintelligible signature, Freedom of Religion is erased in the United States.

What the bill ostensibly does is guarantee that a future Supreme Court decision that overturns Livingston vs. Texas (which found an emanation of a penumbra that declared buggery to be a Constitutionally protected act) and Obergefell vs. Hodges (which discovered in best 1984 fashion that civilization, Occidental and Oriental, had been wrong for some 6,000 years and same-sex couplings were entitled to the same social and legal standing as real marriages) will not endanger homosexual unions.

Supposedly, this legislation was required because Justice Clarence Thomas, in his concurrence in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health, the decision that struck down Roe vs. Wade and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, wrote this about the legal reasoning that has created the worst abuses of the Constitution:

In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell. Because any substantive due process decision is “demonstrably erroneous,” we have a duty to “correct the error” established in those precedents.

You have to give the authors of this bit of trolling-as-legislation credit. They knew that any attempt to defend homosexual marriage would be a hard sell to get past the Senate’s cloture rule, so they cleverly equated homosexual marriage with interracial marriage. If anyone opposed the bill, they could rest assured that in the next election, voters would be told that they were racists who opposed interracial marriage. READ Senate Passes ‘Respect for Marriage Act’, Bill Heads to House.

Dutifully, twelve Republican senators lined up with the Democrats to achieve cloture and the passage of the bill.

  1. Roy Blunt, MO
  2. Richard Burr, NC
  3. Shelley Moore Capito, WV
  4. Susan Collins, ME
  5. Joni Ernst, IA
  6. Cynthia Lummis, WY
  7. Lisa Murkowski, AK
  8. Rob Portman, OH
  9. Mitt Romney, UT
  10. Dan Sullivan, AK
  11. Thom Tillis, NC
  12. Todd Young, IN

When that happened, as my colleague Bonchie wrote in Senate Republicans Just Spat in Your Face:

That means that the bill passed without any real protections for religious people in the public square. “Bake the cake” just became the law of the land, and Republicans helped make it happen.

Even such squishes as Kevin McCarthy have sounded the alarm.

McCarthy was referring to this statement:

“It is deeply concerning that the U.S. Senate has voted to proceed toward potential passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would essentially codify the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell that found a constitutional right to same-sex civil marriages.

“The Catholic Church will always uphold the unique meaning of marriage as a lifelong, exclusive union of one man and one woman. In doing so, we are joined by millions of what the Obergefell Court called ‘reasonable and sincere’ Americans – both religious and secular – who share this time-honored understanding of the truth and beauty of marriage.

“Senators promoting the Act have claimed that their amended bill ‘respects and protects Americans’ religious liberties,’ but the provisions of the Act that relate to religious liberty are insufficient.

Obergefell created countless religious liberty conflicts, but the Act offers only limited protections. Those protections fail to resolve the main problem with the Act: in any context in which conflicts between religious beliefs and same-sex civil marriage arise, the Act will be used as evidence that religious believers must surrender to the state’s interest in recognizing same-sex civil marriages. Wedding cake bakers, faith-based adoption and foster care providers, religious employers seeking to maintain their faith identity, faith-based housing agencies – are all at greater risk of discrimination under this legislation.

“The bill is a bad deal for the many courageous Americans of faith and no faith who continue to believe and uphold the truth about marriage in the public square today. The Act does not strike a balance that appropriately respects our nation’s commitment to the fundamental right of religious liberty. Senators supporting the Act must reverse course and consider the consequences of passing an unnecessary law that fails to provide affirmative protections for the many Americans who hold this view of marriage as both true and foundational to the common good.”

By equating homosexual marriage with interracial marriage, the bill may not force churches to perform homosexual weddings, but they can be stripped of their non-profit status if they don’t.

What the bill achieves is Barack Obama’s (and Franklin Roosevelt’s) ideal of “Freedom of Worship” rather than “Freedom of Religion.” This is more than a semantic difference. Freedom of Worship says the government won’t f*** with you over your religious beliefs for a couple of hours each week. Outside of those two hours (give or take), you must pay homage to Leviathan. Freedom of Religion enshrines the right to live your faith every second of every day, no matter what the secular world believes.

The plain text of the law will strip the non-profit status from religious groups and organizations that do not recognize homosexual activity as anything but what it is, an offense against Natural Law and the Almighty. It means that religious schools can no longer refuse to hire openly homosexual teachers and staff. It means that religious adoption agencies can’t refuse to serve homosexual “couples.”

There are deeply dishonest voices who say that is not what the law requires.

If you want to read Heritage’s real statement on the bill instead of this balderdash, you can find it at this link. The gist of it is this:

Moreover, the current text of the Respect for Marriage Act only provides negative protections for religious liberty. While the bill enables anti-discrimination lawsuits to be filed against religious individuals or institutions, it doesn’t provide affirmative protections for them. It could take weeks, months, or maybe even a year, but without strong protections for religious institutions, anti-discrimination lawsuits over the nature of marriage are sure to follow.

The extract from the bill, which you can assume is the most benign part of an utterly malignant piece of legislation, only refers to performing homosexual “marriages.” It doesn’t touch on requirements by religious organizations to recognize their validity.

In short, the issue is not and has never been who must conduct homosexual marriages; the issue has always been whether religious institutions, non-profits, and people of faith must go along with the nonsense.

The real “tell” that the bill is specifically designed to bludgeon religious non-profits into accepting homosexuality as normal is very easy to demonstrate. Utah Senator Mike Lee, who was not endorsed by his fellow Utahan Mitt Romney, submitted an amendment that would have given religious non-profits legal protection; see ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ Hits a Snag, Puts Republicans on the Hot Seat. It should have been a no-brainer if this was a good-faith piece of legislation. Instead, his amendment was defeated 48-49. Similar amendments by Oklahoma’s Jim Lankford and Florida’s Marco Rubio also went down in flames.

The bill has no legal protections for religious non-profits because none were intended.

However, the genius of the bill is that it equates homosexual marriage with interracial marriage when the two have nothing in common. Loving vs. Virginia, the decision invalidating anti-miscegenation laws, was not decided based on “substantive due process.” It was decided on a plain text reading of the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In other words, this is not possible outside of amending the Constitution. By tying the two very dissimilar things together, the bill treats the refusal to acknowledge homosexual “marriages” the same as racial discrimination. And it opens religious non-profits to legal attack under the same laws that make racial discrimination illegal.

You can also tell by the way the Respect for Marriage Act has been framed by its supporters. Senators Tammy Baldwin, Kyrsten Sinema, and three of their Republican colleagues called the bill “a needed step to provide millions of loving couples in same-sex and interracial marriages the certainty that they will continue to enjoy the freedoms, rights, and responsibilities afforded to all other marriages.”

The senators link interracial and same-sex marriage, and by extension, the opponents of interracial and same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court in the past has allowed the federal government to revoke the tax-exempt status of organizations that oppose interracial marriage on the grounds that racial integration is an “overriding government interest” that cannot be overcome by religious-freedom claims. For at least some of the senators who supported this bill, that is precisely what they want to see happen to proponents of traditional marriage.

The Obama administration at least countenanced revoking the tax-exempt status of traditionalist organizations. In the oral arguments of Obergefell, Justice Alito asked then-Solicitor General Donald Verrilli whether organizations that fail to recognize homosexual marriage would lose their tax-exempt status, a lá Bob Jones University, the school that infamously opposed miscegenation. Verrilli ominously said the question of tax-exempt status was “certainly going to be an issue.”

While this legislation doesn’t repeal the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, it takes a step toward the left’s ultimate goal of revoking religious organizations’ nonprofit status by creating a right-of-action against those acting “under color of law” who fail to recognize same-sex marriages. That provision—supported by 12 nominal allies of traditionalist Americans in the U.S. Senate—gives fuel to the activists who have spent the years after Obergefell suing private citizens, religious charities, and other nonprofit organizations, and want desperately for religious people to affirm their conduct.

If you can’t see how this doesn’t eventually end in religious denominations being forced to perform homosexual unions if they wish to retain their non-profit status, I think you are deceiving yourself.

Many moons ago, if I may be so bold as to culturally appropriate a sacred indigenous First Nations way of precisely measuring time, my friend Erick Ericksson coined the phrase, “you will be made to care.” What he was referring to was the attitude of the David French wing of the conservative movement (lolol…I had to rush to the restroom writing that as the laughing threatened my bladder control) that sexual deviance is a “blessing of liberty” and we are all free to live our own lives.

As we’ve seen since that is not the case. It is not sufficient that homosexuals have the “right” to marriage. What is imperative is that you and I acknowledge and honor this as though it was real. Jack Phillips, the baker in the “bake that cake” case (The Masterpiece Cakeshop Decision Is More of a Dire Warning Than a Cause for Celebration), is besieged by vindictive sexual deviants demanding that he provide them a service that is calculated to demean him and dismiss Christianity (Only Bakery in Colorado Again Under Attack by Anti-Christian Activists and The Continued Persecution of Masterpiece Cakeshop).

We aren’t able to live our lives and leave others to live theirs. This law will open a floodgate of lawsuits that we will (probably) win but will have the net effect of bullying religious groups into accepting homosexuality because the legal costs of constantly defending themselves will be too high.

Freedom of Religion isn’t dead. Yet. But the groundwork has been laid for making religion a cultural artifact permitted during a formal time of worship and then put back in the vault for the rest of the week.



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